Maryhill is an area of Glasgow close to where we live which, although not particularly touristy, has some interesting developments going on. It dates from the coming of the canals in the 1790s and was called after Mary Hill who, with her husband Robert Graham, sold the first land for the township in 1791. Today’s destination was the former Burgh Halls, opened originally in April 1878 along with the adjacent police station, and derelict for many years before being sold to a Trust which raised the funds to reopen them earlier this year (although there’s still work going on on the roadway outside as you can see above). Today, the buildings house the main hall, meeting rooms, offices, a cafe and much more. For further information about the halls, including pictures of the stained glass, both original and modern, see the Trust’s website – there’s also a walking trail round more of Maryhill which I hope to follow very soon. Today, there was just time for lunch with a friend.
We entered through the gates below, which lead into a courtyard which was once the site of the Maryhill Fire Station. New gates by Andy Scott depict period firemen and their equipment. To the left is the Maryhill Leisure Centre, refurbished from the old Baths and Washouses (1898). However, we turned to the right to the Halls and the Cafe.
The Clean Plates Cafe is part of the Grassroots Organics family. It serves soup, sandwiches and a few other dishes. I had a hummus and aubergine sandwich and David had the aubergine skewers, both delicious. For future reference, I noted the presence of an all-day veggie breakfast ……….hmm, tempting. Upstairs, there were some old pub signs on display:
From the top picture, you can just see down into the cafe. This sign once sat on metal rails above the entrance to the Olde Tramcar Vaults and the soldier in his sentry box sat outside the HLI (Highland Light Infantry who used to be stationed at the nearby barracks).
Finally, we nipped across the road to Maryhill Library, a 1905 Carnegie library which also has interesting local history displays. I liked the report of its opening from the Daily Record and Mail in which the Lord Provost described libraries as “avenues of knowledge and wealth” and “potent factors in the destiny of a nation.” If only this spirit were alive in more places today.
All the buildings I’ve mentioned are listed, and all appear in the Maryhill Trail. A late breakfast in the cafe, followed by a couple of hours walking the trail could be a really good way of spending a Saturday morning. Watch this space!